'Minister should take steps to solve sand and gravel shortage'

'Authorities await nod from environment dept to extract sand'

'Minister should take steps to solve sand and gravel shortage'

MLA K G Bopaiah has said that a delegation should impress upon the District-in-Charge Minister K J George on the burning issues of shortage of sand and gravel in Kodagu district, on November 16. If the Minister fails to respond to the woes of the public, then protest should be staged.

Speaking at a meeting of all party representatives and various organisations to discuss on shortage of sand in the district here on Monday, he said that with the environmentalists demanding control over sand extraction and approaching the Supreme Court, a stringent law was passed by the State government. As the permission from environment department is mandatory for sand mining, the issue has become complex now. The district administration has already identified nine sand blocks—one in Madikeri, two in Virajpet and six in Somwarpet taluk. The list has been submitted to the environment board. The board do not look into the problems faced by the people. They allow mining after verifying the rules and regulations.

He said if the district administration allows sand mining in the interest of the public, then there are possibilities of environmentalists approaching the court again. Fearing court order, the officials are not ready to take any risk and are implementing the sand policy.

The MLA said that a few contractors are engaged in transporting sand illegally to Kerala.

There is a need to check transportation of sand to other states.  MLA M P Appachu Ranjan said “let us give an ultimatum of 10 days to the government to solve the problem. If the government fails to solve the problem, then we will pay the fee to the government to extract sand.”

B M Raju said that environmentalists are responsible for row over shortage of sand and gravel.  Somwarpet Block Congress President K M Lokesh said depending on the demand for sand, the district administration had identified nine sand blocks in the district.

Earlier, when there were 20 to 30 blocks, 80 per cent of the sand was transported outside the district. If the sand continues to be transported to other districts, then there will be acute shortage of sand in the future.

District BJP President Suja Kushalappa said if the sand mining policy is not initiated at the earliest, then the elected representatives should start extracting sand to ease the problems faced by the public.

District JD(S) minority wing President B M Vijaya said that there was a need to fight against implementation of Kasturirangan committee report on Western Ghats and deemed forest. If these two projects are implemented, then quarry and sand mining can not be undertaken in the district, he said.

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